Last weeks sightings at Drakelow reserve

There is so much to see over at Drakelow!

Week-ending 24th March 2019. The outgoing week was dominated by a high pressure system and reasonable temperatures that were accompanied by a drying wind. The last mentioned wind dried out the flood pool and all other puddles on the approach to the reserve. A Cormorant count, in conjunction with the National Wildfowl Count, was carried out on the 23rd March and 219 birds were counted over the survey period from 1545 to 1845. The path closure signs were respected by the visitors but did not do anything to prevent a fireworks display, from 1825 to 1840, on the Staffordshire side of the R.Trent. Luckily there was no canon-type exploding rockets involved but several birds did leave the North Pool area, including a Great White Egret, but they settled again. The wildfowl count, on the 24th, was not particularly exceptional although 19 Greylags and a Shelduck were logged. The best duck counts were 63 Tufted Duck, 53 Shovelers and nine Goosanders. Roosting Snipe numbered 28 with, doubtless, a few hidden in the vegetation. A re-count of the Cormorant AON’s saw a further increase to 85 (one nest, in the North Pool, has now been taken over by a Grey Heron) and Grey Herons nests also saw a slight increase to 37 AON’s. Coverage over the last week was daily with a female Stonechat and 70 Wigeon logged on the 18th. On the 19th 73 Tufted Ducks were noted and a Great White Egret on the 20th. The only expected spring arrival was the Chiffchaff with an increased count of 23 singing birds on the 24th. Departing winter visitors was a party of seven Fieldfares on the 18th. BUTTERFLIES: The only records were of the over wintering species Brimstone, Peacock, Comma and Small Tortoiseshell. MAMMALS: During the week recorded mammals included Badger, Red Fox, American Mink and a few Rabbits. HYMENOPTERA: There was an increase in sightings of the Buff-tailed Bumble Bee and Common Wasps. AMPHIBIA: A Toad was found about to enter the water on the 21st but, as yet, no sign of any Frog spawn. With thanks to AG, RW, KW, KS, RH, NKT, PH, AB and DH.